A 28-year-old woman from the Gansu Province in China is having to undergo corrective surgery as unlicensed dermal fillers were inserted in to her face 11 years ago.

Xiao Lan, still a teenager at the time, was told by her then-boss that her looks would not be enough to secure her finding a wealthy man as her skin was too thin and papery. As a result Lan chose to have facial fillers to help plump out the appearance of her face, in order to make it what was deemed to be more attractive.

Given that she was not earning a great deal at the time, rather than save up to have the procedure carried out at a reputable clinic, Lan chose to have the procedure done at an unlicensed, cheaper clinic. At the time she was said to be happy and satisfied with the outcome; however, in 2009, changes started to occur.

Her face swelled up and changed slightly in shape, her eyes became droopy and she even suffered from excessive hair loss. At the time doctors attributed this to possible kidney or liver failure, but there was no alternative diagnosis when these were ruled out.

By 2013 things had taken a turn for the worst, when Lan’s face has swollen up and changed beyond all recognition due to the unlicensed dermal fillers. This time doctors were able to pinpoint the problem as the side effect of her earlier fillers, when the substance that was used was uncovered. Although it was banned from the medical cosmetic industry, Lan’s face had been injected with hydrophilic polyacrylamide. Previously this substance had been used in breast implants in China.

Lan is now undergoing corrective surgery to reverse the problem caused by unlicensed dermal fillers. Doctors have warned her that the effects of the illicit substance injected in to her face may be difficult to reverse given that it has been in her skin for such a long time.

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